BlackBerry: Mass loss leads to layoff of 4,500


TORONTO — BlackBerry Ltd. says it will lay off 4,500 employees, or 40 percent of its global work force, as it reports a nearly $1 billion second-quarter loss in a surprise early release of earnings results.

The stock dropped 19 percent to $8.50. Shares had been halted pending the news.

BlackBerry had been scheduled to release earnings next week. But the Canadian company said Friday it expects a loss of about $950 million to $995 million for the quarter.

The BlackBerry, pioneered in 1999, was the dominant smart phone for business people and others before Apple debuted the iPhone in 2007.